DES MOINES, Iowa — If you’ve been driving down 2nd Avenue in downtown Des Moines in the last few weeks you may have noticed some construction by the river. That’s the start of the long-awaited skatepark.
Due to central Iowa’s recent weather, this is another project that is behind schedule but not by much. Committee members of the park say some elements will be completed by the end of this year with a possible limited opening, but the entire project will not be complete until sometime in 2020.
Co-chair Brad Anderson said it will be worth the wait for what is now planned to be the biggest skatepark in the country. Final renderings of the Lauridsen Skatepark show 88,000 square feet of skateable terrain, that’s over 20,000 square feet larger than the original design.
“We do anticipate a national spotlight on this skatepark,” Anderson said. “People will be looking to use this park for national tournaments and we will be creating a regional tournament that this skatepark will be used for. We are really excited in terms of where we landed in terms of design and scale the skatepark.”
But that increase in size comes at a cost. Anderson said it’s now expected to cost almost double the original figure coming in at over $6 million, but they say they are close to raising all the funds necessary and are excited to finally see crews on the site and progress being made on a project that’s been in the works since 2004.
“We could not be more impressed with the progress they made on the skatepark really within the past couple of weeks,” Anderson said. “We had some weather delays early on, but right now they are moving dirt, there is equipment there, there is just a ton of progress. So we are very pleased with where we are at.”
Earlier this month the skatepark received a $500,000 Community Attraction and Tourism Grant to really help close in on that $6 million price tag.
The park is said to have three main areas: the lower plaza/pedestrian walk, the main plaza, and the snake run, bowl, and pool. The skatepark will also have a spectator gallery, a new addition to the final rendering of the park.